When we talk about self-improvement, most will think about reading, learning, and improving themselves. But self-improvement is much more than that.

It is important to work on yourself if you want to experience growth, become someone better, and achieve greater success in whatever you do in life. And in this article, I’m going to share with you the top 10 self-improvement principles you should live by every day.

No one can succeed or reach greater heights without improving themselves. If you keep doing the same thing and don’t change a thing, you will be exactly where you are ten years from now.

Nothing changes unless you do something differently.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily agenda.”

John C. Maxwell

Yes, if you want to change your life and live better, you need to start by changing how you live daily.

So, follow these 10 self-improvement principles, and make them your daily mantra…

1. Think Long-Term

First, learn to think long-term. There is no way you can improve and achieve greater success if all you focus on is what lies in front of you.

You need to think long-term if you want to succeed and live a better life. The key is that when you focus on the long-term, you are able to delay gratification and say no to all distractions.

Not only that, your ability to think long-term allows you to make better plans and work on opportunities that get you the results you want.

Most people live the same life over and over again because they don’t think long-term. They only focus on the short-term reward. As a result, they choose to do what is easy and convenient now, but in the end, they have to suffer the loss and pain over the long-term.

Just like playing games, wasting time on social media, binge watch Netflix, drinking, etc., these bad habits are pleasurable, but if you do too much of them, it will impact your future.

When you spend most of your time watching Netflix, you are substituting your future for the pleasure you get right now.

Hence, choose to think long-term. Focus on building the future you want, not the immediate reward.

2. Make Learning a Habit

Make Learning a Habit

You can’t improve and you can’t get ahead if you don’t improve yourself. It is like a cup of water. The cup can only contain so much water. And once the cup is full and if you keep pouring water to it, it will overflow.

This is why you need to make learning a habit. The more you learn, the bigger “your cup” becomes. And the bigger the cup, the more “water” you can contain.

Do you get me? You are who you are right now because of what you know and what you do.

If you only know how to make an income of $3,000 a month, then that’s the max you can earn. So, if you want to make more money, then you will have to learn the skill and ability to earn more.

You cannot get to where you want without changing yourself. And the only way to change yourself to become someone better and worthy of the success you want is through constant learning.

And there are many forms of learning. According to this article from the University of Washington, there are 3 main types of learning:

  1. Learning through association  – Classical Conditioning
  2. Learning through consequences – Operant Conditioning
  3. Learning through observation – Modeling/Observational Learning

Therefore, if you want to improve yourself, there are many things you can do:

  • Read books and other personal development materials
  • Associate yourself with other successful people
  • Attend a class, seminar, or workshop
  • Spend time in solitude for self-enlightenment
  • Observe and model other successful people

3. Plan Ahead

Yes, you need to plan ahead. Just like the first principle where I talked about thinking long-term, planning is an important part of personal development.

Don’t just dream and think about the ideal future you want to create, make concrete plans, and schedule your workflow.

When you put down what you want into plans, you are making them more tangible and achievable. Most people fail to reach their goals and dreams because all they do is thinking about the results they want. They don’t plan and hence, they don’t take any solid action.

Don’t let this happen to you. Self-improvement requires planning. Thus, plan the future you want. And then every day, spend a couple of minutes to plan for your day, week, and month.

The more you plan, the more specific you know what you need to do to create the future you want.

You will become more proactive rather than being reactive. When people have no idea what to do, they will waste time on social media, playing games, or doing something that has nothing to do with their goals.

But when you plan, you know what you need to do. And that makes you proactive.

Extraordinary people are able to accomplish amazing results in life because they plan, and they work on their plan.

Read: How to Turn Your Goals into Actionable Plans

4. Work Your Way to the Top

You can’t achieve the success you want by just sitting and daydreaming about it. You need to DO something and make things happen.

I believe we all have big dreams, but to achieve our dreams, we need to work on them. Success isn’t going to fall from the sky on us.

So, you want to drive a sports car? Then you need to work on the goal and make it come true. You can’t hope or pray or dream and then the next day you wake up, and the sports car is in your garage.

It doesn’t happen that way. But sadly, most people are only looking for quick fixes and they are not willing to put in the hard work.

Spend a couple of hours each day to work on your goals. Things are not going to happen overnight, but if you are willing to invest your time and put in the effort, things will definitely happen over time.

Therefore, work your way to the top. Don’t just dream and think about what you want, work on it, take action, and make it comes true.

Check out these effective action plan templates to help you take massive actions.

5. Build Productive Habits

You are the result of your habits. What you do daily is more important than what you do once in a while. And this is how your habits determine your future.

Think about it, can you get slim and get back in shape if you workout and exercise in the gym for just one day? No, you can’t.

But if you repeat the process over time. After a few months, you will see the results. This is the power of building habits that support your results.

No matter what you want to achieve in life, be it financially, fitness, or your relationship, you must develop the right habits that will get you the results.

For example, if you want to be a successful blogger, you need to make writing your habit. If you want to be a successful YouTuber or social media influencer, you need to make publishing content your habit.

Consistency is one of the most underestimate keys to success. When you are consistent, you can achieve almost anything.

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.


No matter how big your goals or dreams are, you can achieve them if you are willing to work on them, one step at a time.

And the best way to be consistent is through developing the right habits.

So, identify what are the habits that will make you productive and successful.

6. Focus on the Process

Focus on the Process

Here’s another thing you need to do: focus on the process. Yes, I understand that I did ask you to think long-term, but when it comes to doing the daily work, you need to focus on the process.

Too many people get it wrong by only think about the results, and they forget about the process.

Let me give you an example. If you want to build a successful blog, and all you do is think about it, it is not going to help. After a few weeks or months down the road, you will look at your blog and think, “I’m not getting the traffic and I’m not making any money from my blog”, and you will lose your motivation.

This is what makes people give up on their goals and dreams.

And to prevent this from happening, you need to focus on the process, not the results.

Rather than thinking about how much traffic or subscribers you receive every day on your blog, focus on your process like writing and publishing content.

If you have written an article and published it on your blog, celebrate. You’re winning. And this is how you focus on the process.

The more you progress forward, the more you should celebrate. And eventually, your blog will gain traction, people will visit and subscribe. That’s how you build a successful blog.

The same principle applies in every area of your life.

Focus on the process. Think about what you can do, do it, and then celebrate your process. When you make progress, you will somehow make it to the results.

7. Learn the Lessons

Another principle of self-improvement you need to stick to is to always learn the lesson. Success isn’t going to come to you instantly. You may need to go through failures and make some mistakes before you get the results you desire.

But too bad most people look at failure as it is. They don’t heed the lesson.

When they make mistakes and they fail to achieve their goals, they look at it as a failure. And then they label themselves as a failure.

You have to understand that failure is temporary. If you fail now, it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail again in the future.

Plus, when things don’t work out, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It just means that things are not working because you do it in a wrong approach.

You have to learn the lessons and then improve your strategy. Don’t get personal about your failures and mistakes.

A lot of people look at failure as the opposite of success. No, it is not. Failure is on the same side of success. In fact, the more you fail, the more you experience. And the more experience you have, the better your success rate.

Therefore, learn from your failures. Don’t take it personally. It is okay to fail as long as you learn from it.

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou

Read: 7 Things You Should Do When You Fail to Achieve Your Goals

8. Take Care of Your Body

Self-improvement isn’t just about learning and reading, it is also about taking care of your body and overall wellbeing.

If you are committed to living a good life, you have to spend time taking care of your physical health too.

Take time off to recharge your energy. Eat healthily and avoid junk foods. And exercise for at least 15 to 30 minutes every day.

The more you take care of your body, the better you can perform.

There is no way you can do your best, perform at your peak, and create extraordinary success if you are always feeling tired, sleepy, exhausted, and sick.

Your physical health will directly influence your level of performance and productivity in everything you do.

Thus, take good care of your health from now on.

9. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Besides your physical health, you also need to take care of your mental health. Apart from reading and learning, you must also make sure you only project useful and positive throughs to your mind.

There is a saying, “You become what you think about most of the time.” If you are constantly thinking about negative thoughts, there is no way you can succeed.

Be conscious of your thinking pattern. Try to avoid negative news and only put in positive news. Stop spending time with negative people who always complain and play the blame game.

What goes into your mind, shows in your life.

You can’t think clearly when your mind is cluttered. Hence, from time to time, do a mental de-clutter. Here is a good guide from Smead.com about how to clear your mental clutter.

Taking your time off and being in solitude helps to improve your mental health too.

10. Help and Inspire Others

Life is about making an impact, not making an income.

Kevin Kruse

One of the goals of self-improvement is to help and inspire others to do better, to perform better, and to live a better life.

Hence, you may want to contribute and give back to the world and society.

When you think about it, incredible people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, etc., are constantly inspiring people and trying to make the world a better place.

Why do you think most people want to work in companies like Google, Tesla, and SpaceX? Well, because people are attracted to visionary and impactful leaders and companies.

We all want to be a part of something bigger and meaningful. This is why nobody wants to live in mediocrity.

And the reason you commit to self-improvement in the first place is so that you can become better and able to attract, inspire, and make an impact on other people’s lives.

This is why you must strive to do something meaningful, something inspirational, and something that will help make the world a better place.


Take these 10 self-improvement principles and live by them each day. The more you stick to these principles, the more successful you will become.

So, which one of the principles above inspires and impacts you the most? Let me know in the comment section.

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  1. Hi Shawn

    Thanks for such a useful article. The 10 principles are very helpful to me. At present, I may only live by 3-4 of them. Especially “think long-term” and ” focus on the process” are very helpful for my life and work. I hope to achieve the ten principles you mentioned in your article in the future. Thank you again.
    By the way, how do you overcome laziness and other difficulties in implementing these principles?

  2. Shawn Lim Reply

    Hello Jason, good to hear that you love this article. For overcoming laziness, there are a couple of ways I do this. The best is to make your behavior a habit, and then associate your work with an inspiring meaning. You can also check out this guide below:

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